BYU football: Matt Reynolds, Hebron Fangupo are Cougs’ top NFL draft prospects
Football • BYU’s top seniors aren’t expected to be early draft picks.
Published: May 1, 2012 11:15PM
Updated: April 23, 2012 11:51PM
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Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Matt Reynolds (70) chats with BYU QB, Jake Heaps, before taking the field for the opening of Fall Football Camp at BYU, Saturday, August 6, 2011

Provo • Matt Reynolds is considering a Lord of the Rings movie marathon this weekend, or perhaps some yardwork at his parents’ place in Provo. Hebron “Loni” Fangupo will take lots of long walks with his wife, Rebekah, to release some pent-up energy, while Terence Brown will do some substitute teaching at Lehi Junior High on Thursday and Friday and get in a round of golf on Saturday.

Most of all, Brigham Young University’s three primary hopefuls in the National Football League draft, which begins with the first round on Thursday (6 p.m. MDT, ESPN) and continues Friday (rounds 2-3) and Saturday (rounds 4-7) are ready to get the seven-round draft over with and move on with the next step in their lives.

“It’s a lot of waiting, to be sure,” said Reynolds. “But it is a once-in-a-lifetime deal that not a lot of people get to experience, so you try to savor every moment.”

None of the three BYU seniors is a sure thing to hear his name called, although Reynolds is projected in most mock drafts to be a middle- to late-round pick. Fangupo is tabbed to be a late-round pick, and Brown is a bit of a long shot to be drafted, but will almost certainly get an invitation to an NFL team camp as a free agent.

The Cougars’ other half-dozen or so seniors — running back JJ Di Luigi, defensive backs Corby Eason and Travis Uale, receiver McKay Jacobson, linebackers Jameson Frazier and Jordan Pendleton and defensive end Matt Putnam — will also be looking for free-agent invites.

It won’t be apparent until Friday night, but the 6-foot-6, 305-pound Reynolds (he’s shed about 10 pounds since gaining a measure of national notoriety for making that helmetless block in the Armed Forces Bowl against Tulsa) probably cost himself some money by opting to return to BYU for his senior year.

Once projected as a late first or second-round pick, he’s now ticketed to go in rounds 4-7 on Saturday, although he repeated Sunday that he has no regrets.

“I am really calm. I am happy with my decision,” said Reynolds, who is married and has a 1-year-old son. “I feel like things are going to go really well. I feel like regardless of where we go or when, things are going to work out. Things will go the way they are supposed to go.”

Reynolds is a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which is the team his father, Lance, played for briefly in the 1970s, along with the Cowboys and Titans. His brother, Dallas, was on the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad last year and will be in the Eagles’ training camp this summer, but Matt Reynolds has no preference.

“Right now, I am to the point where I just want a shot to play football,” he said. “It really doesn’t matter where. I just want to get somewhere, be a part of an organization, and give it a shot to make an impact.”

Reynolds said he has heard from a lot of teams, but can’t narrow down which ones seem the most interested. He’s confident that he will hear his name called before the seventh round concludes Saturday afternoon, as is his agent, Carter Chow, son of Hawaii head coach Norm Chow.

“We have heard projections all over the board, so it all depends on [which draft expert] one wishes to believe, I guess,” Reynolds said.

As for Fangupo, he was also invited to February’s NFL Combine and put up some decent numbers, which he duplicated or improved upon at BYU’s Pro Day last month. However, a number Fangupo can’t control — the USC transfer is already 27 years old — might give some clubs pause, some draft experts believe.

“Right now, I am watching my dreams unfold right before my eyes,” he said.

Brown’s versatility along the offensive line — he has played guard and center at BYU — didn’t earn him an invite to the combine, but has helped him catch the attention of some pro scouts.He has also lost 25 pounds since the bowl game under the guidance of a nutritionist and the tutelage of Dave Stroshine and ASAP Training, and he sparkled at BYU’s Pro Day.

drew@sltrib.com

Twitter: @drewjay

BYU’s potential NFL draftees

Player Position

Matt Reynolds Offensive tackle

Hebron Fangupo Defensive tackle

Terence Brown Center

NFL Draft

P Thursday, 6 p.m. TV • ESPN

• Also Friday, 5 p.m.; Saturday, noon